Spotify files complaint against Apple's App Store rules

Apple's bombshell and the trillion-dollar question

Apple's bombshell and the trillion-dollar question

Spotify ended support for Apple's in-app subscription payments system for its premium service in 2016.

The Verge reports that music streaming service Spotify has filed an antitrust complaint against tech giant Apple with the European Union related to the 30 percent cut that Apple takes from subscriptions made via their app store. Spotify no longer allows users to subscribe directly through iOS - and Apple's policies prevent the company from telling users how to subscribe through other portals. "Apple, you've got to break it apart from their App Store".

Apple has been kicking music-streaming service Spotify around for years, and Spotify is fed up.

Technical and experience-limiting restrictions are imposed on Spotify that makes it hard to communicate with customers if they choose not to use Apple's payment system, Ek added.

The European Commission considers all complaints on their merits and there are no timelines for officials to respond or requirement they launch a formal investigation. This central tension gives Tim Cook's behemoth what Ek calls "an unfair advantage at every turn"-whether by disallowing apps from promoting discounts, or by imposing the so-called "Apple tax".

Spotify said it was forced to "artificially" increase monthly subscriptions for its premium service via the Apple App Store.

"And to keep our price competitive for our customers, that isn't something we can do", added Ek.

The problem boils down to the fact that Apple won't allow Spotify to advertise that subscriptions are cheaper through its website, not the app.

One example that Ek outlined in his written deposition, is the manner in which Apple taxes businesses that want to use their platform as a seller's market. He explains saying Apple asks Spotify and other digital services pay a 30 per cent tax on purchases made through Apple's payment system, including upgrading from its free service to premium.

Spotify argues that its complaint to regulators is not about seeking "special treatment" in its global music battle against Apple but the same treatment as numerous other apps such as Uber and Deliveroo, which are not subject to the 30% app store charge.

"We've consistently worked hard to play by the rules, even though we can never be sure when they will change, or how", said Gutierrez. He also wants customers to have "a real choice of payment systems". "We should all be subject to the same fair set of rules and restrictions, including Apple Music".

As I recently shared, competition pushes us to evolve and improve both the customer and creator experience. It is about supporting and nurturing the healthy ecosystem that made our two companies successful in the first place.

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